Dear Nadine Khan,
I am an 18-year-old girl, living with my parents in Lahore. I am in severe depression because of the severe financial difficulties my parents are facing. I know everyone is in a financial crunch and people are worried, but you have no idea how bad it is for us. My parents are really old and we don’t even have our own house. The bigger problem is that all our relatives and family friends, including the in-laws of my sisters, are very rich. We are really scared about their reaction. I can’t even earn and help them, so I feel totally helpless! I cry a lot because I love my parents. They both belong to very wealthy and good families, and were themselves very affluent. Due to bad luck in business, they had to sell all their properties to fund our education. My older brother and I are in very good and expensive institutions, and to meet our expenses my father had to sell our house and now we live in a rented place. I have tried asking Allah for support, but so far nothing has happened. I am losing hope. My brother still has one semester left and I have a long way to go. I just don’t know what to do to help my parents. I don’t even know why I am writing to you, because you can’t help me, but I wanted to vent out.
Depressed and Dejected Teen
Dear Depressed and Dejected Teen,
As you rightly mentioned, everyone is feeling the effects of inflation. Business has been bad for most businessmen, and we all must strive to overcome this situation in any way we can. It is admirable that you wish to help your parents, but at your age there isn’t a lot you can do. So, first of all, you should try your best to get good grades as your parents have sacrificed a lot to ensure you have a good education. On the sidelines, if you can generate a bit of cash by giving tuitions or some other part-time work, it will lessen your parents’ burden a bit. My dear, soon your brother will complete his education and will hopefully get a good job. So, you just need to stay afloat for the time being. As for being embarrassed in front of family members because your parents have lost money, it’s absurd. Family ties are not so fickle that your family members would look down upon you because of your straitened financial circumstances. I realise that there are some people who avoid poor relatives, but those people are not decent people and most of them are the newly rich ones. People who are from good backgrounds do not shun their relatives because of monetary issues, especially when your parents have not asked anyone for help. So you should not worry about the reaction of your family members or the in-laws. If they are superficial enough to look down upon you, then just ignore them. Concentrate on your studies, and support your parents emotionally. Show them that you don’t care about not having too much money and are happy. It would help them a lot to see you coping well with the situation. You may have heard that nothing is permanent except change, so this too shall pass. Best of luck!
Dear Professor Nadine,
I am 24 years old. I had just completed my first semester of BS when I got this very good proposal, and my parents told me I could complete my studies after marriage. So, I got married, about five years back, but it lasted for one year only. My ex-husband was a very handsome man and even after our marriage, he kept seeing girls he had been in relationship with. I saw their pics on his cell, and restaurant bills on his table. He told me it was none of my business. I told my parents-in-law about his activities, and they told me that I was wrong and I should concentrate on being a good housewife and daughter-in-law. My husband’s attitude became very bad with me after that. I thought may be I was overreacting, so I started taking interest in the household chores like cooking and stuff. But, my mother-in-law kept telling me that I was a bad wife and bahu, and my mother should have brought me up better. In these stressful circumstances, I lost my baby. Instead of consoling me, my husband beat me badly and accused me of killing ‘his’ child and his parents also were very mean. That was too much for me and I went to my parents’ house and asked him to divorce me. After getting divorced, I started going to college on my father’s insistence, and have now done my BS. I got through this horrible nightmare with the support of my parents. My parents accepted a marriage proposal from a guy who is a widower, and has a one-year-old daughter. We had our nikah ceremony done few weeks back, and as soon as my papers are completed I will join my husband in Australia. Apparently, there is no problem but I am very confused. My ex-husband’s mother used to tell me I wasn’t a good wife or bahu, and I want to be a good wife and mother. What should I do to ensure that I don’t make any mistakes and end up being divorced?
Dear Frightened Virgo,
When you got married, you were very young and didn’t know how to tackle your husband and in-laws, and they took advantage of your youth. You were never in the wrong; it was your ex-husband and his parents who took advantage of your youth and inexperience. They made you think you were a bad wife because they did not want you to have the courage to question your husband’s activities. You are a good person and tried to do be a good wife by taking interest in the household matters, but your in-laws did not appreciate your efforts. Instead of talking to their son, they tried to bully you. How they treated you after you lost your baby shows what type of people they are, so you were well-rid of that family and hopefully will be very happy in your new life. You want to be a good wife and mother, and you will be great because your intentions are good. Just be sincere and accept your husband and his daughter and I am sure he will be good to you as well. Just keep an open mind and be yourself, and everything will turn out well. Best of luck!
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